The number of landowners who have appealed against the inclusion of their land in Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) maps has increased from six to 600 in just three weeks, according to the latest figures from An Bord Pleanála. The body has received a total of 600 appeals from landowners who are unhappy that their land was included in the first RZLT draft maps that were published by local authorities on November 1st, 2022. Farmers and landowners who did not agree with a local authority’s decision could lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála up until May 1st, 2023.
These appeals could relate to the exclusion of a site from a final map, on the basis that the land constituting the site does not satisfy the relevant criteria, or a change to the date specified in the map as the date on which land constituting a site first satisfied the relevant criteria. The RZLT is a new tax that will come into force from February 2023, and land that is designated as in “scope” is any land that is currently zoned for residential use and has access to services such as water supply, roads and lighting.
According to Revenue, there are a number of exclusions from the scope of the new tax, which includes land that is considered “integral to the operation of a business carried out on or beside it”. The government has said that the aim of the tax is “to activate land for residential development throughout the country, rather than to raise revenue”.
However, farming organisations have warned that farm families could potentially have to pay €450 per acre from next year on land which is in scope, and as a result, the new tax could force families to sell land that has been in their generation for years. Supplemental zoned land maps were published earlier this week by a number of local authorities, which identified additional land within the scope of the tax.
Landowners have been urged to check if their land is included in the new supplemental maps that have been published. Farmers and landowners can object to the inclusion of their land in the supplement maps by making a submission to their local authority by June 1st, 2023. The RZLT has been a controversial topic amongst farmers and landowners since it was first proposed, with many feeling that the tax unfairly targets agricultural land.
The government has argued that the tax is necessary to increase the supply of residential housing in the country, particularly in areas where there is a shortage of housing. However, opponents of the tax argue that it will have a negative impact on the agricultural sector, which is already struggling due to a range of factors, including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has called on the government to reconsider the RZLT, arguing that it will have a disproportionate impact on farmers and landowners. The IFA has also called for an exemption for land that is currently used for agricultural purposes, arguing that this will help to protect the agricultural sector and ensure that farmers are not unfairly targeted by the new tax.
The controversy surrounding the RZLT highlights the ongoing debate in Ireland about the balance between agricultural land use and residential development. While there is a clear need for more housing in the country, particularly in urban areas, there are concerns that the RZLT will have unintended consequences for farmers and landowners, who are already facing a range of challenges.
As the deadline for appeals approaches, it remains to be seen how many landowners will choose to appeal against the inclusion of their land in the RZLT maps. However, it is clear that the controversy surrounding the tax is unlikely to go away anytime soon, with both supporters and opponents of the tax continuing to make their voices heard.